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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

What Is Christianity in Zimbabwe?

Is it a Religion or Game of Politics?

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Tafadzwa Mwanengureni
Tafadzwa Mwanengureni
I am a student journalist at Harare Polytechnic majoring in print journalism

ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections has seen more than 20 opposition parties contesting for the presidency.

Some of the Contestants separated from other parties and formed theirs just to win the elections.

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The same scenario is being witnessed in the Christian religion in Zimbabwe whereby church leaders are fighting for power and leadership.

Factionalism within denominations

Looking at Johanne Masowe Apostolic Church, it has more than 100 sects with different leaders who at times blaspheme each other.

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Currently, the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) leaders are in endless fights over leadership and they have been in and out of the courts since 2018.

This led to the formation of a faction whereby the challenger formed AFM of Zimbabwe while the former remained AFM in Zimbabwe.

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However, a few days ago, AFM in Zimbabwe President approached the High Court to ban the latter from using the former emblem.

This clearly shows how Christianity has turned to be politics where the courts are involved to solve religious issues.

In another scenario, the African Apostolic Church is experiencing a split as the sons of the founder of the church Paul Mwazha are fighting leadership.

According to church members (not named as the denomination does not interact with the media) due to old age, Paul Mwazha decided to retire and give leadership role to his young son and leaving the elder one.

This made the followers get confused on who to follow as factionalism has developed.

An African Apostolic Church Congregant who refused to disclose her name said, “We are now confused on who to follow because the Founder made a mistake on first giving the elder son the role to commission the Holy Communion and later gave the young brother leadership powers.”

However, the elder brother is modern-day claiming the right as traditionally and culturally the elder son is heir to the throne.

Churches challenging spiritual powers

The strife of beliefs within the christian religion has also seen some prophetic denominations questioning the powers of each other.

For instance, modern day prophetic ministries and apostolic sects attack each other over spirituality powers.

At one time in 2015 Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance (PHD Ministries) Founder Walter Magaya blasted apostolic sects saying that their way of healing services associates with marine spirits.

Religion before colonisation

Most apostolic churches were formed during the liberation struggle era as a way of resisting the colonial regime and they were slightly different from African Traditional Religion (ATR).

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They believe they are “holier than thou” compared to other religions even within the fraternity.

As politics is a game of numbers, it is also applying to Christianity whereby campaigns to lure many followers are done to gain fame and popularity.

Similarities with other religions

Nevertheless, ways of worshipping depend on philosophies and doctrines but a non-controversial someone can tell that religions are like branches of a tree that take different directions but originate from the same trunk.

Moreover, the 10 commandments that were biblically given to Moses at Mt Sinai are applied everywhere as no religion promotes bad deeds that he was instructed that people should not do.

This clearly shows that religions are a matter of different ideologies but there is only one God, but it needs people who understand and admit that no one is holier than the other before the Creator.

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